Thursday, December 28, 2017

Westland Park

Westland Park is bounded by W. Water Street, Woodland Avenue, and Elm Street.
It was originally part of the Lewis dairy farm property, which I wrote about here.
You can read all of my posts about the Westland area here.
The first mention of the park is in the Kerrville Mountain Sun for June 11, 1936, when it reported a birthday party for Emily and Mary Carol Busch thus:
Little Emily and Mary Carol Busch celebrated their birthdays last Thursday afternoon in the home of their parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Busch on Elm Street in Westland Place.  The young hostess invited their guests to play in Westland Park, which adjoins their home, and here many games and contests were enjoyed.
Emily was 7 or 8 and Mary Carol was 3. The family home was 510 Elm Street.

In March 1937 a crew of city workmen began work on Westland Park, including building curbs, work on adjacent streets and landscaping.
In April the Civic League gave a benefit card and domino party at the Blue Bonnet Hotel to raise money to purchase playground equipment "before the summer tourists arrive in Kerrville".  The price for the event was 35 cents, which included prizes.
They didn't meet their goal, as the first playground equipment wasn't installed until mid-September, the Rotary Club providing financial assistance. The June 8, 1937, Kerrville Mountain Sun reported "It is the hope of Civic League officials to have a supervised playground at Westland Park by next summer.  The park is open for the use of all white children in the city."  Only white children.  Sadly, this was common during the Jim Crow law era. In fact, the entire development was originally "whites only".

In 1939 there was a "Clean-Up Week" in preparation for Summer Playground activities sponsored by the public school system.

The April 28, 1977, Kerrville Mountain Sun reported that Westland Park was rename Elm Street Park and gave the following unfortunate report about some park history:
Due to the heavy flow of traffic on Water, the younger children not only use the park, but Elm Street also, and this is a three block street without much traffic.  It is in constant use, and not as much misuse as when it was built.  The original barbecue pit was demolished, wooden tables and benches were used for firewood, and the swings and other equipment wrecked. … It is now well kept and many adults bring lunches to eat there.  There is a deep well, which furnished water for the Lewis dairy cattle, in the area.  The long cement picnic table was the horse watering trough.
Some time later the park regained the name Westland Park.
Joe Herring Jr. has blogged about this park, including photos of the watering trough.  You can read more from his blog here.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

College Cove

The plat for College Cove Addition was approved in August 1962. It consisted of 24.5 acres and is east of Motley Hills Addition, on the east side of Kerrville. The developer was V. "Happy" Clouse. The city manager C. R. Voelkel told Clouse that the Planning and Zoning Commission "commended him for making such a fine layout of the plat." Clouse was a Kerrville city councilman at the time. 

The first record I found of a home in College Cove was in the November 11, 1962, Kerrville Daily Times when it was reported that J. C. Murray, Tomahawk Trail, received a building permit for a residence for $15,500 and Virgil Clouse, Bow Lane, received a residential building permit for $22,500.

In addition to Tomahawk Trail and Bow Lane, other streeet names include Arrow Lane, Pinto Trail, Michelle Drive, Sky Blue Drive, and Danielle Drive.

The subdivision was annexed to Kerrville in 1963.

To read about other subdivisions in Kerrville go here.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Murray Heights

Murray Heights began development in late 1961. The first mention of this development was in the September 8, 1961, Kerrville Daily Times. It was so named because it was developed by Mr. and Mrs. Tom H. Murray on their property. That issue of the KDT included a plat map of the development and the following caption:
Work is underway on the development of Murray Heights, a subdivision of eleven homesites South of West Main Street between Woodcrest Drive and Galbraith. Built around asphalt-paved Circle Drive, an extension of Fairview Drive, there will be curb, root-proof sewer, water, gas and underground electric and telephone conduit installation. ... completion expected by the end of the year.  The plat has been engineered to save most of the oak trees in the landscape pattern.  R. H. H. Hugman and J. Harris Hein, San Antonio, prepared the engineering and architectural plan.  Mr. and Mrs. Tom H. Murray, 236 Fairview Drive, are initiating the development.

A correction ran a week later saying that Circle Drive was actually Fairview Circle, which is an extension of Fairview Drive.

The house at 236 Fairview is the oldest in the neighborhood and dates to at least April 1957, and probably earlier--most likely 1950 when it was described as being part of the Rees addition. The first mention of this address is in the April 18, 1957, Kerrville Daily Times when it was the home of W. D. "Bob" Walton.
UPDATE: The current owners tell me the house at 236 was built in 1947.

It appears that the first residents of the new "estate homes"of Murray Heights were Mr. and Mrs. W. A. Slater.

To learn about other subdivisions in Kerrville, go here.

Friday, July 28, 2017

River Trail Cottages

I first blogged about this property in 2012 when it was inexpensive rental housing. The original post is here.

This property located along the Guadalupe has now been restored and is known as River Trail Cottages.  I am pleased to see this happen and hope more people will find ways to use some of the older buildings around the area in innovative ways. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Henry Noll Homestead

This antique house is currently for sale and needs loving restoration. I hope a buyer will be found who values it for its history and architecture.
NOTE:  This is not my home. I just like this house, plus its history and architecture are similar to my home's.
NOTE: 22 Aug 2017: This house has a new owner who plans to restore it.

This graceful 19th century Victorian home is the Henry Noll homestead.  Originally located at 909 Water Street, at the foot of Washington Street in Kerrville, it now sits atop Deer Park Lane about four miles south of town.  It was moved to its current location in 1983, one of many homes in Kerr County that have been saved by relocation.

This house appears on the first Sanborn Fire Insurance map for Kerrville, drawn in 1898, so we know for certain it is at least 120 years old. I believe it is older--perhaps a dozen years older. I have attached links to the 1898 and 1930 maps.
You will also see the 1898 and 1930 house footprints on this page.

On November 2, 1888, Christian Dietert sold a lot of land to Henry Noll for $300.  Other lots of land nearby were selling for about $100, so either there was already a house on the lot, or Noll paid a premium for the location on the river. If indeed there was a house on the property, Christian Dietert MAY have built it. He operated a grist mill and saw mill next door.
1898 footprint

Henry Noll operated a general store on Water Street near his home.

After he passed away in 1926 his son, Henry Noll, Jr. gave this house and the lot it sat on to his sister Elisabeth Johnston, who was married to Charles H. Johnston. He died in 1930.
Their son Charles H. Johnston, Jr. married Josphine Fawcett on September 8, 1936.  Surrounded by commercial creep, they moved to 345 West Water Street in 1939.  The Water Street location must have been lovely once. I found this comment in the March 23, 1939, Kerrville Mountain Sun, "Wouldn't you just love to have a bedroom like the one in the old Johnston home on Water Street, where the plum trees in full blossom completely surround the bay windows." You can see the bay window in the photo above.
1930 footprint

In May 1941 Charles A. and Mary Reiter bought the property from the Johnstons and lived here until at least 1977. It was convenient to their auto sales and service business next door.  By 1980 it sat vacant along with two neighboring properties owned by Notre Dame Catholic Church and was moved in 1983. Today 909 Water Street is a parking lot.  I am so grateful though that someone found this house worth saving.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Restaurants in Historic Buildings in Kerrville

The other day while lunching at Francisco's a friend and I were talking about the restaurants in historic buildings locally. There is something about dining in the midst of history that makes the experience more enjoyable.
I have blogged about some of these restaurants in the past and eat at several regularly. I hope you, dear reader will make it a point to visit or revisit them.
This is not a complete list. Only restaurants in the Kerrville "Main Street District" are included and I may have missed a couple. They are listed in approximate order of the age of the building.

 has opened at Pampell's.  This building has a state historical marker.

Francisco's is in the Weston Building.

Yeo-bo's Cafe is in the old First State Bank building.

Pint & Plow is in the Edward Dietert House.

Rails is in the old S.A&A.P.  Passenger Depot. (See also here for update) This building has qualified for a state historical marker, which will be install later this year.

Thai Bistro is in a century old house at 1201 Broadway.
Pax Coffee & Goods and Rita's Famous Tacos are both in the Baehre Building.

Conchita's on Main and Hill Country Cafe are in the Johnson Building.

Cartewheels is in this part of the old Chas. Schreiner store.

Grape Juice is in this spot.

Now go enjoy a nice meal out!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Lewis Dairy Farmhouse

July 2016
This graceful Victorian-style home at 313 Jackson Road, Kerrville, was erected by Judge Danforth Rogers Lewis in 1914 for his family home after he purchased land for a dairy on the outskirts of Kerrville. The land today is Westland Place.  The house is not in its original location.  It was reportedly moved from the corner of what is now West Main and Jackson Road when the land was sold for development about 1925.  The concrete picnic table in Westland Park was once the watering trough in the dairy barnyard. The house originally had seven bedrooms and no indoor plumbing.

47-year-old Danforth R. Lewis and his family, including wife Lucinda, daughter Mary, and son Arthur L. "Pinky" Lewis, came to Kerrville in 1914 from New York.

D. R. Lewis received his L.L.B. in 1896 from Cornell University and practiced law in Auburn, NY.  He first ran for office in 1897, campaigning as a Republican for Justice of the Peace.  He served 1897-1901, then was elected special county judge in Cayuga County and served three terms. He had been a Republican candidate for the New York state assembly from Cayuga County in 1910.

After poring through old newspapers and other publications, I cannot determine why he packed his bags and left upstate New York for Kerrville. Often tuberculosis was the reason, but that doesn't seem to be the case here. Why would a judge and attorney leave an established practice to move two thousand miles away and give up practicing? Was there a friend who encouraged the move? Was it wanderlust? Were they tired of harsh winters?  Did he decide he didn't like the law?  Do any of my readers know? 

The first mention of the Lewis Dairy in Kerrville is in the March 20, 1915, Kerrville Mountain Sun when D. R. and A. L. Lewis posted a trespass notice. "Notice is hereby given that no hunting or other trespassing will be permitted on the Lewis Dairy Farm.  D.R. and A. L. Lewis."
By June of that year they were well enough established in business that they were advertising "pure Jersey milk and cream, delivered to your door twice daily."

In January 1917 they advertised for an experienced dairy man to live in a tenant house and work on the farm.

By 1918 the Lewis Dairy had expanded into hogs, featuring registered Poland China hogs, including a "fine service male."

In January 1920 in a bow to the growing demand for housing they offered one of their cottages for rent "no sick", in other words, no one with tuberculosis.

The February 20, 1920, Kerrville Mountain Sun ran a front-page story about the search for a hospital for veterans and an offer the Lewis Dairy made to sell the property for that purpose.  (The hospital was built east of town instead and became the VA Hospital.)  As a result, rumors were unfortunately floated in town that the dairy was closing.  These were refuted in a letter published in the newspaper.

It was for sale though, and in April 1925 a group of local businessmen purchased most of the Lewis Dairy property for a development that became Westland Place Addition. Then in April 1926 Henry Woodruff purchased what remained of the dairy.  The sale must have not have gone through because the Lewises were again running the farm at the time of Danforth's  death in 1928.
By 1930 Winford Warren took over the dairy. There were no future newspapers items after December 1930, so the dairy may have closed.

Lucinda Lewis died in 1937 in her home near the intersection of Cottage and Lewis Streets.
Danforth, Lucinda, Arthur (and his wife Cynthia) are all buried at Glen Rest Cemetery.

If you have a house you'd like me to research and post on this blog, please post below or email me at dgaudier at gmail dot com.  I use this address only for the blog.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Four more historical markers approved

Kerr County has a rich history, and a collection of more than 80 state historical markers proves that. Today the Kerr County Historical Commission was notified that four additional places in the city of Kerrville have been approved for markers.
It will be many months before the marker installations and dedications but I thought I'd share this good news. Click on the links for more about these buildings.

The first three places are being named Registered Texas Historic Landmarks in recognition of their architectural and historical significance.
They are the Kennedy-Peterson House on Earl Garrett Street,
and two buildings on the Depot Square:
Kerrville Lumberyard (a.k.a. Beitel's Old Place, now used as an event center) and
Kerrville Depot (currently home to "Rails, a Cafe at the Depot").

The fourth place is Barnett Chapel Methodist Church, which is receiving a subject marker in recognition of its long rich history of service dating back 120 years.

Congratulations to those who have worked to preserve and protect our historic built environment.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

400 Earl Garrett Street

Now at 728 Jefferson Street, Kerrville, Grimes Funeral Chapel's original address was 400 Earl Garrett Street. The building was purpose-built in 1930 for Smith Funeral Home as reported in the Kerrville Times of 3 July 1930.

Work Begun on New Funeral Home
Work began Saturday on a building at the corner of Jefferson and Earl Garrett streets to be occupied by the Smith Funeral Home, Dick Smith proprietor.
The funeral home is to be a two story frame building, 75X49 feet. The lower floor will be used for the funeral business and on the second story will be located the show room and some living apartments.
The Remschel Lumber Co. was awarded the contract for the building at $7,000.  Mr. Buffington has the carpenter work in charge.
The old Hazlett home stood on the corner upon which the new Funeral Home is being erected, and more recently owned by Judge Wallace from whom the property was purchased by Smith.  The residence has been moved to the rear of the lot and will face Earl Garrett Street.  The building for the Funeral Home will be completed in about 60 days.

When it opened, a new Packard ambulance was featured. 

Dick Smith had been the manager and funeral director for Peterson's Funeral Service prior to going out on his own. Peterson's was located at 631 Water Street. (The link takes you to an interesting story of one of downtown's oldest buildings.)
An addition was put on in 1966 by the Plummers, adding a new chapel facing Jefferson "adjoining the present location".  The business name has changed over the years.At this location it was known first as Smith Funeral Home, then Plummer-Smith (1951), followed by Grimes Plummer (1977), and then the current Grimes.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Lemos Street business district

Undated photo, probably 1980s. Kerr County Historical Commission Collection.

Once upon a time Kerrville was segregated into three groups--white, black, and Mexican.  Each group had its own commercial area.  Lemos Street was the heart of the commercial area for what was then called the Mexican community. Part of the 1930 Sanborn fire insurance map is shown here.
In 1930 the commercial addresses in the 300 block on Lemos (between Main and Jefferson) were:
305, 306, 317, 319, 324, 326-328, and 330. Of these addresses in 1930,  only 305 (Wahoo's Seafood) 317, and 319 remain.

305 Lemos has had a variety of occupants over the years.  In 1926 Pedro Calderon had a shoe repair shop. It was vacant in 1964, and housed Bennett's Radio & TV 1968. By 1983 Hill Country Pest Control was located here. They remained at this location for about 25 years.

317 Lemos was known as Henry's Place, a bar and cafe, in 1940 to at least 1947, possibly longer. It does not appear in some city directories  and gets little mention in the newspapers and for that reason I have not been able to piece together much history.
(Note: a demolition permit was issued in 1964 for 317 Lemos so it may not even be the same building.)

319 Lemos housed a series of cafes and bars for many years. I don't have a full list of business names.  The first known was the Monterey Cafe, owned by G. M. Flores from at least 1928 to 1936, possibly longer.

Monterey Cafe. undated. From Kerr County Historical Commission collection.

Later Magdaleno Gonzales, a cook at the VA Hospital, operated a bar, cafe, and pool hall here, from about 1950 when he made alterations to the property in 1950. He owned it until 1957 when "A fully equipped cafe" was offered for sale.  It was Joe's Place 1963-1968, and  Aleman's Place by 1987. After some 65 years as a bar and cafe, the building experienced a complete change of purpose when Faith Temple Gospel Church purchased the property and worshiped here from 1994 to 2006.

The schools, churches, the Mexican Union community building, and most of the old commercial buildings are gone.  Along with a barber shop on Main Street, only this small stretch remains.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Fawn Valley Estates

This neighborhood doesn't have as interesting a story as some do--at least not that I could find!

Fawn Valley Estates, which was developed by the Scotch Investment Company of Houston, lies  between Bluebell Addition and Harper Road. The streets include Lake Drive, Hancock Drive, Warbler Drive, and Temple Drive. Approved by the Kerrville City Council in February 1962, in March it was referred back to the planning and zoning board for changes along the right of way along Harper Road. In May it was annexed to the city.
The first mention of a home for sale in Fawn Valley was in March 24, 1963, when a three bedroom, two bath house of white Austin cut stone--still under construction--was advertised in the Kerrville Mountain Sun. Most of the houses are constructed of brick in a mid-century ranch style.
 In October 1963 Fawn Valley residents, who had been on a rural route, began receiving city mail service. The post office gave detailed instructions on placement of mail boxes, which the Kerrville Mountain Sun dutifully reported.
Development seems to have peaked about 1967.